Lately I have heard many teachings and exhortations concerning abiding, whether it is about us abiding in Yeshua or YHVH abiding in us. After some thought, I realized that I did not have a clear idea of what the word “abide” means. According to merriam-webster.com, there are several definitions for the word “abide”. After consulting the Scriptures on passages dealing with abiding, it seems that various Scriptures deal with one or more of the definitions provided by merriam-webster.com. Here are my perceptions and discoveries. You may also wish to do your own study. This is rather a lengthy study, so I will present it in two parts.
The first definition means “to wait for” or “await”. Revelation 3:20 states, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door ….” YHVH often works in subtle ways, and in order to hear His knock, we have to be listening for it and be willing to respond by opening the door. Ephesians 3:17-19 explains the reason for welcoming Yeshua into our hearts, so that we “may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Messiah which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” In order for us to be effective followers of Yeshua, we must first be saturated in His love. It is out of this abundance of love that we will be able to do that which He requires of us.
Romans 8:9-10 tells us that we are not in the flesh but in the Spirit. This passage also tells us that “if Messiah is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.” We are comprised of spirit, soul and body. It is our spirit that is born again when we accept Yeshua as our Lord and Redeemer and our spirit is in direct communication with the Holy Spirit. Our body and soul must learn to submit to our spirit. Andrew Wommack provides an excellent teaching series entitled Spirit, Soul and Body that provides a clear understanding of how to get our soul and body lined up with our spirit. The Holy Spirit does much for us, but we must do our part by cooperating with the Holy Spirit.
The second definition of abiding is “to endure without yielding or withstand and/or to bear patiently or tolerate.” Galations 2:20 says that “I have been crucified with Messiah; it is no longer I who live, but Messiah lives in me ….” We must daily die to self, to the demands of our soul and body. “Therefore, as you have received Messiah Yeshua the Lord, so walk in Him…” (Col 2:6). We must be willing to withstand persecution and suffering as we walk in Yeshua. We must not only tolerate others, but love them with the love of Yeshua. That does not mean that we must embrace or even condone their choices or lifestyles; often it is just the opposite. We must love people in their sins as Yeshua loved us in our sins. This is something that we grow into gradually, as we grow in Yeshua’s love.
The third definition is “to accept without objection”. In John 8:31, Yeshua said to His disciples, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;” We must be yielded to Yeshua’s will, just as Yeshua was yielded to His Father’s will. If we are yielded to Yeshua’s will, we will also be yielded to our Father’s will, for they are echad. In 2 John 1:9, we are warned that “anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Messiah, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” Yeshua assures us in John 15:10 that “if you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
There is a prevalent teaching today that we live solely by grace and are not required to keep YHVH’s commands, particularly those in the Old Testament, because it is too difficult for us. On our own, we may very well be too weak to keep every command perfectly, but we are not on our own. We have the Holy Spirit working in us to perfect and strengthen that which is weak in us. Yeshua paid for our sins on the cross, but He also sent us His Holy Spirit that we might be strengthened and sin no more. In order to live in YHVH’s kingdom, we must be able to abide by His rules.
There is much for us to reflect on concerning this simple word, “abide”. This study has been both enlightening and challenging to me. Hopefully, it will be helpful to you as well. Both my strengths and my weaknesses were brought to light as I studied and I clearly see areas where I need to grow. In next week’s blog, I will present the remainder of my study on abiding. I pray that it will be helpful to you, as it has been to me.